Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the trail of the New Hampshire tornado


The photo above is a shot I took this morning of the home in Deerfield that was demolished by the tornado on July 24. Brenda Stevens died in the home.

I just returned from a visit to the scene of the killer tornado that tore through southern New Hampshire on July 24. The roads around Deerfield and Epsom were clear enough to get through, but there's so much clean up left to do. It was amazing to see first-hand the path of this tornado, which weather officials now say was an F2 tornado with winds up to 135 mph. The tornado traveled for 40 miles at a speed of about 50 mph.

Standing along Route 4 we could look across Northwood Lake to see the devastation. We saw the home in Deerfield where Brenda Stevens died while holding her stepson's 3-month-old baby, and looking around you could clearly see the path the tornado took. It was like a scene from Kansas, not New Hampshire. The only difference here is that it's so wooded, so the tree damage is extensive.

Here are some of the photos I shot today while taking a quick tour of the scene.




The statement below was issued Saturday by the National Weather Service, confirming that the damage was from a tornado. There's some interesting stuff in it for weather junkies like me.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAY ME
600 PM EDT SAT JUL 26 2008
...EF2 TORNADO CONFIRMED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE...
AFTER SURVEYING DAMAGE FROM THURSDAY`S (JULY 24 2008) STORMS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DETERMINED THAT DAMAGE THROUGHOUT A LARGE AREA WAS CAUSED BY A TORNADO.
TORNADO DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED IN 11 NEW HAMPSHIRE COMMUNITIES INCLUDING (IN ORDER OF THE TORNADO PATH) THE TOWNS OF DEERFIELD, EPSOM AND
NORTHWOOD, PITTSFIELD, BARNSTEAD, ALTON, NEW DURHAM, WOLFEBORO, OSSIPEE, EFFINGHAM, AND FREEDOM. THE TORNADO CUT A DISCONTINUOUS PATH OF DAMAGE OF ABOUT 40 MILES IN LENGTH WITH A MAXIMUM OBSERVED
WIDTH OF ABOUT 1/3 OF A MILE. BASED ON THE STORM FORWARD SPEED DURING THE EVENT, IT IS ESTIMATED THAT THE TIME BETWEEN THE INITIAL TOUCHDOWN AND FINAL LIFT OFF WAS SLIGHTLY UNDER AN HOUR. MORE PRECISE MEASUREMENTS WILL BE DETERMINED OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS
BASED ON AERIAL SURVEY IMAGES AND RADAR DATA.
MANY THOUSANDS OF TREES WERE DOWNED BY THE TORNADO. NUMEROUS HOUSES AND OTHER STRUCTURES WERE DAMAGED BY FALLING TREES. ONE FATALITY OCCURRED IN THE TOWN OF DEERFIELD IN A HOUSE COLLAPSE.
BASED ON OBSERVED DAMAGE, THE FOLLOWING RATINGS (BASED ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE) HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED FOR EACH TOWN.

DEERFIELD - EF2
EPSOM - EF2
NORTHWOOD - EF1
PITTSFIELD - EF2
BARNSTEAD - EF2
ALTON - EF1
NEW DURHAM - EF1
WOLFEBORO - EF2
OSSIPEE - EF2
EFFINGHAM - EF1
FREEDOM - EF1
EF1 RATINGS INDICATE WINDS IN THE 86 TO 110 MPH RANGE.
EF2 RATINGS INDICATE WINDS IN THE 111 TO 135 MPH RANGE.
MOST OF THE DAMAGE OBSERVED IN TOWNS WITH EF2 RATINGS INDICATED WINDS
IN THE LOWER END OF THE EF2 RANGE.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE, PLEASE VISIT:
HTTP://WWW.SPC.NOAA.GOV/EFSCALE
NEW HAMPSHIRE AVERAGES ABOUT TWO TORNADOES A YEAR. THIS IS THE FIRST CONFIRMED TORNADO IN NEW HAMPSHIRE FOR 2008.

1 comment:

Head in a Box said...

Nice pics and info there! It would be cool if you could find a map tracing the path of the beast; like they have to track hurricanes. We live about 4 miles east of the beginning of the damage toward Wolfeboro. Being able to see the path on a map would be most cool!